Edinburgh Fringe 2021
We are introduced to the principal members of the gang and their target by voice over as the characters, all in black and shades, appear at the beginning as standard fare for our narrative. So we have the geek, the leader, the sidekick and the mark. From there we have the contact made, the planning continued, and the heist commenced. Then mum interrupts, an assistant plays a significant role and the plans are usurped though the gold gets got, the woman gets her man and the mummy gets her prize.
This begins well and the introductions are all brash and poses with little needed in terms of depth as the roles they play are very recognisable. Structurally, if you are going to promise the ultimate heist though, we need details. We also need to see those details played out. At times this was a lot more Famous Five/Secret Seven than Ocean’s Eleven as the details got lost in some of the posing. It was a shame because the key element in this was the people onstage and they were pretty good.
Given the direction being one of light comedy, this was decent enough but became a tad unfocussed as the actors tended to occupy spaces onstage rather than inhabit them. Conventions became a little lost after their establishment and the central idea that Claire falls in love with John Smith not so much a driver than a distraction. There was also a dropping of pace at times when it needed to ratchet it up whilst entrances and exits – partly due to the venue – were awkward. Needs to be slicker and that would aid the pace of the caper.
The voiceover and the interplay beyond the fourth wall were interesting and worthy of further development. The relationship between audience and actors could develop further with the actors onstage. They are clearly well able to comprehend how to use this to their advantage and I would have loved much more of it. There are a few areas where actors struggled with exchanges between themselves, and some felt a bit clumsy, but this just needs to settle down and allow the pauses and cue lines to find their places naturally. Overall, they played it up and played it well.
The set, for what it was, was good enough for the show. The prosecco bottle, though, could do with being replaced as drinking from it looks a tad primary school behind the bike sheds. There is no change from starting on the bottle to ending with it and the hangovers seem to be difficult to comprehend as they all seem to be unaffected by their drinking throughout. Part of that I suspect is the cartoony nature of the bottle and not buying into it as a prop. But the drill and the lock on the bank vault were great – could do with a better reason as to why flicking a lock off on the Bank of England vault works though.
This has great potential, and I did enjoy some of the silliness. But to be elevated it needs greater directorial control beyond being about a heist planned in your mummy’s basement if you want to convince us of its merits.